April is Sexual Assault Awareness month and today, a rally to highlight the plague of sexual violence. Many demonstrators wear jeans, to make the point that there is no excuse and never an invitation to rape. NY1's Clodagh McGowan has the details.
The Denim Day NYC rally brought survivors of sexual assault and rape, and people who support them, to Foley Square in Lower Manhattan.
For Ann Cooper, the rally is a chance to let other survivors know, the crime is never their fault.
"It is not what we wear, it's not where we're from, it's not if we've had a drink," Cooper said. "No is no and that fact will never change."
Denim Day began after the Italian Supreme Court Decision overturned a rape conviction 19 years ago because the victim was wearing tight jeans.
The judges said the woman consented because her assailant could not have removed the jeans without her help.
The ruling sparked a global outrage, and made jeans a focal point of this annual protest against sexual assault.
Organizers say the rally's turnout proves women of all background are affected by these crimes.
"We represent every borough, every ethnicity; every language you can think of is represented here," said Alexandra Smith, an event organizer.
The NYPD has committed to provide victim assistance in every precinct and PSA by 2018.
The department also has brought in trauma experts to train detectives handling sexual assault cases. And a hotline was established to make it easier for victims to report sexual crimes.
"It's hard enough for survivors to come forward and report, we want to make it as easy as possible and support them in every way possible," said NYPD Deputy Commissioner Susan Herman.
The NYPD is encouraging anyone who is the victim of a sexual crime to call the department’s Special Victims Bureau.
Police say anyone in immediate danger should call 911.
All others should phone 646-610-7272 to speak to a trained detective immediately.